Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Jimmy Lydon, Art Baker, Myron Healey
HOT ROD (1950). Director: Lewis D. Collins.

"Parents, be grateful you're attending a hearing today instead of a funeral. -- Judge Langham.

David Langham, a kind of mopey "youngster" (Jimmy Lydon, billed as James Lydon), is in love with hot rods and wants to build a super-charged one to impress his sometime girl, Janie (Gloria Winters), Janie is more taken with obnoxious Jack (Tommy Bond), who gets David in trouble when he "borrows" his vehicle and gets into an accident. David's older brother, Joe (Myron Healey of Panther Girl of the Kongo), is a cop and their father is Judge Langham (Art Baker), who takes a dim view of hot rods and the lives cost by dangerous amateur racing. David feels that lives might be saved if the town opened a legal racing strip so the kids wouldn't have to race illegally and get into trouble. Seventy years ago hot rods and racing were a big issue, and lots of movies, mostly "B" films, dealt with it, along with juvenile delinquency. Lydon, who so winningly played Henry Aldrich in a series of comedies, gives a good performance in this, but the film is mediocre, like an expanded "Leave It To Beaver" episode with a heavy-handed (if appropriate) moral tone. Gil Stratton is weird as David's geeky pal, Swifty. Serial stars Marshall Reed and Dennis Moore both have small roles in Hot Rod, with the former playing a guy whose car is hit by David's jalopy, and the latter as a motorcycle patrolman. Those hoping to see some amazing souped up and sexy hot rods in this picture will have to look elsewhere. Lewis D. Collins co-directed many serials (generally with Ray Taylor) and also helmed The Spanish Cape Mystery.

Verdict: Despite a high speed chase at the end, this has little zzzooom. **.

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